George Waring's second half strike inflicts Justin Edinburgh's first defeat as Gillingham ManagerGillingham’s eight game unbeaten run finally came to an end on Saturday afternoon when George Waring’s second half strike secured a narrow 1-0 win for Barnsley at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
In a game of few chances the striker took advantage of a rebound following Stuart Nelson’s initial save on 56 minutes from John O’Sullivan, and the Tykes were able to resist late pressure from the hosts to cling onto all three points.
Manager Justin Edinburgh made one change to the side that drew 2-2 with Yeovil last weekend as Jermaine McGlashan returned to the starting line-up in place of Danny Galbraith.
Aaron Morris was among the substitutes with Luke Norris for company. Youngster Mahlon Romeo was also included in the match squad with Joe Martin and Leon Legge providing other defensive options.
Neither side created anything meaningful in the first 15 minutes – John Egan intercepted a Barnsley counter attack early on before an effort from Milan Lalkovic was comfortably gathered by Nelson.
Conor Hourihane missed the target on 26 minutes with an effort from the edge of the area, and although the Gills number one was untroubled, the visitors were having the better of the half chances.
O’Sullivan was next to try his luck but his shot missed the target before a free kick by Bradley Dack failed to trouble Adam Davies.
A minute or so later and McDonald was next to have an effort on goal. His strike from 25 yards was powerful but too high to force Davies into a save, prior to McGlashan delivering a teasing cross from the right which was out of McDonald’s reach.
Gillingham finished the half on top; a header from Marquis was a simple catch for the Barnsley stopper with a late strike from Josh Scowen over the bar.
The second half started as the first had finished with neither team really on top – half chances were being created but both defences were equal to any task.
However an injury to Bradley Garmston on 56 minutes proved crucial as the hosts were temporarily down to ten men and Barnsley seized their opportunity.
The ball was worked to the right hand side and an initial shot from O’Sullivan aimed towards the far corner was well saved by Nelson, but Lalkovic gambled for the rebound and had the simple task of finding an empty net.
Joe Martin came on straight away and within seconds the scores could have been level – Gavin Hoyte raced forward and all of a sudden found himself in shooting range, Davies made a good block and McGlashan put the rebound over the bar.
His blushes were spared however as the offside flag was raised against him.
Gillingham asked more of the questions during the last third of the match but were unable to produce a killer pass to create an opening. Cody McDonald, John Marquis and Doug Loft all had efforts off target as the clock began to tick down.
In the closing stages Gills had a great chance to clinch a point – Dack picked out McGlashan who was in space inside the box, Davies stormed out to block his shot and did so successfully with the defence clearing a couple of late corner kicks to claim victory.
Gills: Nelson, Hoyte (Galbraith 81), Egan, Ehmer, Garmston (Martin 57), Hessenthaler (Norris 67), Loft, Dack, McGlashan, Marquis, McDonald.
Unused subs: G Morris, Legge, Romeo, A Morris
Barnsley: Davies, Holgate, Cranie, Nyatanga, Smith, Lalkovic, Scowen, Pearson, Hourihane, O’Sullivan (Bailey 88), Waring (Oates 90).
Unused subs: Dibble, Williams, Lita, Hemmings, Berry
Referee: Mr K Johnson